So in less than a month, I’ve successfully boosted my search engine traffic. How did I do this? Simple. I followed a proven and tested SEO strategy that helped me solve my problem and promoted my blog posts. Looking at this, it really does seem too basic; but that’s how SEO is sometimes. If we were to do a comparison between search engine and social media traffic in terms of how likely they result in conversions, the former definitely holds the edge.
How do we gain the full benefits of SEO? Well, we need to know how to separate the facts from the myths. What are the common misconceptions about SEO that we should stop believing? Here are 13 of them:
- Irrelevance of keyword targeting. There is no doubt that Google hummingbird had a great impact on the search engine world. Because of this, content producers had to adopt a mindset that benefited the end-users. Take note, however, that this update was an overhaul of the search algorithm. And this is why it’s still very wrong to suggest that targeting relevant keywords in our content is no longer helpful. Topnotch website content would still require a keyword SEO strategy.
- An XML sitemap is the key to boosting web rankings. XML sitemaps may help search engines crawl and indicate fresh pages faster but they do not actually boost search engine ranking. Sitemaps are simply a guide that provides more information about your website to search engines like Google. One of their functions, for example, is to index your URLs for trouble-free crawling.
- Meta tags aren’t important. Since the hummingbird update, there’s been a lot of talk about meta keyword tags and their importance. Some have suggested that they’re not that useful in today’s SEO world. The truth of the matter is that meta keyword descriptions are still very much relevant and it would do you a lot of good to spend time on them. While they aren’t necessarily search ranking boosters, they do help tell search engines and users about your site and make it more attractive, increasing its chances of getting more clicks.
- It’s no longer important to include a target keyword in your anchor text. In link building, should you use keywords in your anchor text? If you diversify your approach and make sure that both primary and secondary keywords, generic keywords, URLs, and brand names are used as anchor texts, then there’s absolutely no reason not to. It’s completely inaccurate to suggest that an anchor text rich in keywords is no longer material to search engine ranking.
- Google will discover and index fresh content for you. Given how search engine bots tend to feed on new content, then yes, Google could crawl and index your content in about two days’ time. If you want it to happen faster, however, you need to do something to make your fresh content more discoverable by search spiders. It’s a complete myth to think all this is going to happen right away without your input.
- An SEO company will quickly take you to the top of the web rankings. A quick rise to the top of the rankings is not something you can expect an SEO agency to do for you. An SEO company can help with content marketing, metric analysis, and adjustment but as far as a meteoric rise in ranking is concerned, not a single person is able to predict tomorrow’s keywords, and that’s why it’s impossible to guarantee a fast ranking rise.
- Guest blogging is a thing of the past. Some people might consider guest blogging dead, but I personally don’t think so. The reason why is because Google isn’t able to accurately identify what a guest post is. This is particularly the case when the author’s link is found within the body and not on the author’s profile. Plus, did I mention that guest blogging was the reason I was able to grow my blog traffic by leaps and bounds? There you have it. I think the death of guest blogging is a complete myth.
- Researching keywords is a waste of time. Ignoring this is one of the most dangerous things you could ever do. Many people know how important top-quality keyword research is for your site. There has been no search engine update so far that abolished the importance of keywords.
- Organic results are boosted by paid search. This is not the case at all. There is no visible evidence of the correlation between paid rankings and organic rankings. Keep in mind that sponsored links are founded upon on your total investment and bid while organic results are from the index database.
- Increase search traffic by claiming Google listings. There’s no question that claiming your Google listing is important. This is basically you telling Google that your business should be listed in the place where most of your target customers are. Doing this, however, doesn’t mean your search ranking will immediately be boosted. There are plenty of other important factors that need to fall into place for that to happen.
- Google is not a fan of black hat link building. There are several platforms where people engage in both black and white SEO practices. Just because some practice black hat SEO on a platform such as WordPress—which, mind you, is an amazing platform—for instance, doesn’t automatically make the platform “black hat”. To clarify, Google’s disdain is more on what’s negatively done on the platform, rather than the platform itself.
- Long-form content will take you to the peak of the rankings. While long-form content does contribute to giving your site a higher search ranking, making that happen is not as simple as you may think. There are a ton of other elements to consider and long-form content alone is not going to be enough to do the job.
- Social signal does not affect ranking. The effect of social signals on search rankings may not be that obvious, but it doesn’t change the fact that they do influence web rankings. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that focusing on social signals alone means that it may take time for you to see a significant improvement in web traffic and rankings.
We all learn from our SEO failures. I’ve certainly learned from mine and look where it got me today. More important than anything is to continue learning, adapting, and evolving because that’s how the digital world works. What works today may no longer work tomorrow and, similarly, something that may be considered a myth now may become true in the future.
Have you come across any other SEO myths that are not on our list? Please feel free to share them in the comment section.
I am Louise Savoie Digital Marketer at Proweaver, a web development company specializing in Custom Web Design which helps sole proprietors and small companies increase their sales and grow their business. I am responsible in Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. You can find us on Twitter: @proweaver